This conversation will focus on Ireland’s diaspora engagement model and share insight on how Ireland has emerged as a global leader in diaspora engagement. It will explore the role that Ireland’s diaspora capital has played in the Ireland’s development with a specific focus on diplomacy, philanthropy, and investment. Drawing from this story and the work of the speakers in approximately 30 countries in diaspora engagement, the conversation will explore some key factors for success in diaspora engagement. It will also take a refreshing approach to share some insights on what not to do in diaspora engagement by exploring some reasons on why diaspora engagement fails or has failed, even in Ireland!
Kingsley Aikins, CBE
Kingsley Aikins is an experienced and internationally recognized Diaspora expert with an extensive track record of working with countries, regions and organisations to help them engage with their Diasporas. Based on over 30 years working in the areas of trade and investment, philanthropy, education, culture, tourism and sport, he has developed a series of innovative and practical ways and methodologies in which countries can develop their Diaspora Capital. During his time leading the Worldwide Ireland Funds, the organization raised a quarter of a billion from the Irish diaspora to support charities across the island of Ireland.
Kingsley has written and spoken extensively on the topic and worked with over 20 countries. Kingsley has worked in the Diaspora space with agencies such as the EU, IOM, ICMPD, World Bank, UNICEF and have run training courses, written reports and given presentations on Diaspora Engagement in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Holland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Armenia, Spain, Italy, Australia, Kenya, Malawi, Palestine and France as well as to cities and regions. In 2008, he wrote ‘A Comparative Review of International Diaspora strategies’ for the Irish Government. In 2011, he produced a Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit which was launched at the Hillary Clinton Global Diaspora Forum in Washington at which he gave the keynote address.
Martin Russell, PhD
Martin Russell completed his PhD on Diaspora Strategies at the Clinton Institute (University College Dublin) where his research focused on role of the Irish diaspora in the Northern Ireland Peace Process specifically looking at diaspora philanthropy, diaspora financial networks and diaspora politics. He was also a visiting fellow at the United Nations University in Maastricht (UNU-MERIT) and is currently an advisor with The Networking Institute which provides teaching, training, and consultancy on networking, philanthropy & fundraising, and diaspora engagement. He also sits on the Advisory Board of Ireland Reaching Out.
Martin has worked on diaspora engagement across Africa, Balkans, Caribbean, Europe, MENA, Pacific, United Kingdom, and the United States for a range of public and private sector clients. He has a wide publication record on the topic, including many diaspora strategies and policies.